Public Housing

Housing units across from a community center in the Clinton-Peabody public housing complex on the near south side of St. Louis.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

For those who see nothing but divisiveness in Congress, Tuesday’s vote backing the most significant changes in public housing policy in decades may be a refreshing surprise.

The bill, HR 3700, sponsored Missouri Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth and Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City, reforms “19 areas and 65 to 70 provisions” of existing law, under the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Agriculture Department’s Rural Housing Service.

Sparkle Burns, a community coach with Jobs Plus, entertains Kylie Short while the nine-month-old's mother works on her resume at Clinton-Peabody's Al Chappelle Center.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

At 53, Lucretia Hollins is older than your average cheerleader. But that, in essence, is what she’s paid 20 hours a week to be. Hollins encourages her neighbors to sign up — and stick with — a new job-training program at their public housing complex, the Clinton-Peabody in St. Louis' near south-side.

“It’s not so much about the paycheck. It’s about being able to help somebody else,” said Hollins. “Because I know where I was at, and you can’t let your circumstances in life take you out.”

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

 

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, is sponsoring what he calls the biggest “reform” to the Department of Housing and Urban Development in more than 50 years.

 

The legislation addresses long-standing issues in public housing across the U.S.

 

“What we’ve done with this bill is open up 19 different sections of the law, somewhere between 65 and 70 provisions that we believe make some significant changes in the way HUD operates,” Luetkemeyer told St. Louis Public Radio.

 

Flanked by Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia and Mayor Francis Slay, Clinton-Peabody Tenant Affairs President Sam Blue celebrates winning the HUD jobs grant on Thursday, April 2, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Residents of St. Louis’ Clinton-Peabody housing development will soon have help from the federal government to find good-paying jobs. The near south side public housing complex is the recipient of a $3 million grant.

Jason Epperson

Jean King and Richard Baron first met in 1968, when the two joined forces to protest conditions and rent hikes in St. Louis public housing.

Together, they earned a reputation as “imaginative leaders” and community advocates, attracting the attention of author/filmmaker Daniel Blake Smith.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is touting new measures to increase security for public housing residents in East St. Louis. The federally-funded plan includes installing cameras at six high-rise properties and hiring a new security coordinator.

"We're going to be putting up lighting and fencing," Durbin said. "We're going to move forward to try to make sure the almost 4,500 residents of public housing in East St. Louis have a safer place to live."

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded the city of St. Louis $7.8 million to help redevelop the area around the city's last public housing tower for families.

The Pruitt-Igoe public housing project in St. Louis was once considered the template for post-war public housing, a national model.  For awhile it was—until it wasn’t.  The high rise complex was constructed in 1954.  Two decades later, and by then notorious, Pruitt-Igoe was a pile of rubble, imploded and bulldozed into history. What went wrong and why?  That’s the subject of a new documentary film called The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: an Urban History.   Directed by Chad Freidrichs, the film will have its St. Louis premiere this Saturday at the Missouri History Museum.